For Mary Warner's 30th birthday, she's going out for lunch.
Not just on her birthday, but as many times as she can for the entire year. And it's all being documented on her blog Lunch With Mary.
But Mary is no copycat; she's simply trying to learn as much as she can from lunch dates before turning 30 in February. She asks people with cool jobs out to lunch, picks their brains and blogs about it.
Her personal motto is "free lunches and open minds" - picking up the bill meals.
I've been reading Mary's blog for the past week and I've become pretty enthralled. Now it's my chance to meet the woman behind the screen.
I spot a rather tall, stylish looking brunette walking towards me.
"Mary?" I ask.
"Hi," she smiles.
This is a routine Mary knows well - having lunch a dozen people you've never met before means a lot of nervous hellos.
We walk into Daybreak Diner on the corner of Church and Carlton and take a seat by the window. I rack my mind for the list of questions I prepared as I browse the menu but all I can think of is "will this lunch be the next post?"
I turn my focus back to the menu - we're here to eat and talk about her blog after all. I settle on a vegetarian omelette and Mary gets quesadillas. After a brief chat about the now infamous Kanye-Taylor Swift VMA fiasco, I dive right in and ask why she started the blog.
"I said to my boyfriend for my 30th birthday he has to get me a lunch with Paul Krugman [the New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist] which is totally impossible," says Mary, who's turning 30 in February. "I just started thinking about all these other people I'd like to take to lunch and then it just grew from there."
What started off as a love for Krugman's witty and insightful economic commentary sprouted the idea for a blog that's introduced Mary to a Rotman business professor, a pastor, photographer, and a foreign correspondent who's returned from Afghanistan; all very different from Mary's PR job.
"I've definitely stepped outside of my own comfort zone," she says.
To get the dates, Mary sends out e-mails and waits for a reply; her lunch with Neel took three months to set up. So why bother?
"I find as you get older there are these questions: What do you do? Where do you work? Where do you live? Are you engaged, married? Do you have kids? Those are the questions [you're asked] when you meet people," Mary says. "That's what identifies you...It's cool to have [the blog] outside of that."
I scoop up more omelette, chase it down with some iced tea and try to grapple with the concept of a blog being more than just a place to rant and rave but an actual learning tool. I've finished my plate clean while Mary still has some cheese-tastic quesadilla left.
As we pay our bill and get up to leave, I think its strange that we've just had such an enlightening conversation and now we're parting ways to go back to our work places.
And Mary can relate "It's funny, when I do lunches that are kind of ‘wow that was so awesome,' I get back to work and it's kind of weird."
To ask for a lunch date with Mary e-mail her at email@example.com.[rssbreak]